Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Go-to-Gay: All the World's a Stage!

This month's Go-To-Gay post really needs no introduction. Keith just took our musicals theme and rolled with it!

Rosie Red

Broadway prima donnas and their show tunes have always been two of my great loves. As early as age five, I created my own diva persona, Rosie Red. I transformed into Rosie when the urge to perform on the stage overwhelmed my normal needs of playing kickball with my sister or building yet another cabin with my set of Lincoln Logs. All I had to do in order to call Rosie Red to me was wrap a bath towel around my head to imitate hair.

The wrapping of the towel around my head was also crucial to Rosie Red’s identity. It was not wrapped into a cone-shaped pile like my mother and older sister fixed after they washed their hair. I draped the towel over my head, much like a boy performing the role of Shepherd Number One in his church’s Christmas nativity play. I would then crease a small fold above my eyebrows that would help frame my face and give an appearance of bangs and texture. The cascade of the towel would create enough length and body to allow me to perform both a patented Cher head and neck flip, and to tuck my terrycloth hair behind my ear with my hand, when either move was needed for emphasis in a song performance.

With dance moves I had memorized by studying the television program Zoom, I executed riveting concerts for my horrified parents and enthusiastic sister. My performances were always a surprise. To begin, I would stick one leg into the doorway of the living room where my unsuspecting family was sitting. I shook the exposed leg until someone noticed, then in my best emcee voice, I announced Rosie Red was back in town for one last performance, and high kicked my way into the room. Using my mother’s pink Avon hairbrush as a microphone, I sang songs from 42nd Street, The Wiz, and West Side Story, as well as whatever songs were requested from my audience, which usually included something by Cher, Dolly Parton, and Dad's favorite, Charlie Pride.

Sadly, for whatever reasons, Rosie Red slowly faded over the years until she no longer performed in the Stewart home. She drifted to that place where other childhood activities retire, along with my bicycle, Star Wars action figures, countless colorful plastic pegs from a Lite-Brite, and a few stray Legos.

When I began thinking about what I wanted to write this month, I thought of Rosie, and how much I miss her. She would be so happy see the success of the La La Land movie. She would love all the Broadway musicals she has missed since she faded away. She would be particularly fond of Mamma Mia and Wicked.

I then began thinking of how great it would be if Rosie could just exist in my current day-to-day life. Life would be so much more bearable if you could break out into song whenever you wanted or needed. Imagine how less mundane a trip to the grocery store would be if you could blurt out in the produce isle (to the tune of Memory from Cats):

All that leafy green goodness!
Will I pay for the spring mix
or just stick with romaine?

Say you are in a rush to get somewhere and traffic is terrible and you hit every red light along the way. Every. Single. One. Wouldn’t it be great to belt out (to the tune of "Tomorrow" from Annie):

The red light!
The red light!
I always
find red lights!
I never
drive up on green!

Who hasn’t had to sit through endless, mind-numbing meetings at work or on committees? How I wish I could just stand up in the middle of one and sing (to the tune of "Seasons of Love"from Rent):

522 bazillion 400 minutes,
522 bazillion minutes in meetings.
522 bazillion 400 minutes,
how many ways do we have to say the same thing?

Who knows, maybe I will find myself a new towel and see if I still have the same hair wrapping skills as my childhood self. I am planning on finally seeing Hamilton this summer, maybe Rosie Red will make a guest appearance.

Until then, I will be at some coffee shop furiously typing on my laptop while singing (to the tune of "Tonight"from West Side Story):

My piece is due tonight
I wish I had done some prep before.

Keith Stewart is the author of Bernadette Peters Hates Me – True Tales of a Delusional Man. A native of Appalachia, he splits his time between his hometown of Hyden and nearby Lexington, Kentucky. His blog is You can find him on Twitter at @Shiglyogly and Facebook at @AMSCOT (A Strong Man’s Cup of Tea). He is a regular contributor to and the He lives with his husband, Andy, and their two dogs, Duke and Dudley.


Janine said...

I can just picture you entertaining your family when you were younger. I think it would have been so much fun to see.

Unknown said...

I want to grocery shop with you. Maybe we could perform a duo.

Mary Eve said...

Cracked me up. I once charged neighborhood children a quarter to entertain them with LIVE version of Mickey Mouse Club songs and old school Disney tunes on our back deck. Can't remember if I performed to sold out audience or not, but I was rockin a "Farrah" hair style like nobody's business.

Keith S. said...

I've thought about trying it again, but somehow, I don't think they would like it as much now!

Keith S. said...

I smell a Tony in our future!

Keith S. said...

Mickey Mouse Club songs and a Farrah hairdo is can't miss combo!

Janine said...

You only live once. I say go for it. :)